Activating Windows Vista

Put: 07.02.2007 | Rev 07.02.2007 | Contributed by Andrew Mallett

Windows Vista needs to be activated within a specified period, otherwise it will stop working properly. This is usually performed on-line..

Pressing the Windows + Pause|Break keys is quicker than going Control Panel | System & Maintenance | System. Click on Change product key at the bottom..

Type in the number and press Next..

The on-line process can take a few moments..

Success! Checking the top screen again will indicate the Windows is activated.

It didn't work!

Sometimes on-line activation goes wrong and the workstation can't communicate with Microsoft..

Ignore the unhelpful error code. The description of the problem speaks for itself - "A connection with the server could not be established.." This means your workstation is unable to talk to the Microsoft web server which performs the product activation.

This can occur for a number of reasons. On the first day or two of Vista's public release, Microsoft's activation servers could not cope with the unanticipated demand for activation requests and some users were unable to connect. Generally though the problem is closer to home.

Make sure the workstation is connected to a working internet or network connection

Press Windows + R and type CMD in the Run box. In the resulting Command Prompt box, type IPCONFIG and make sure you have an IP Address. A row of zeros in the IP Address field indicates you don't and this is why you cannot connect to Microsoft. If there is an IP, then ping another system on the network (like the IP of the Default Gateway) to make sure the connection is working.

If the above indicates that there is working network connectivity, then make sure the internet connection is working by opening up Internet Explorer and browsing to a website. One common problem is that the network's Web Proxy is not enabled in Internet Explorer. Windows uses this setting to communicate with Microsoft. Click here to see how to configure a web proxy.

Any ongoing connectivity/activation problems are beyond the scope of this article and the user is encouraged to seek assistance in diagnosing and fixing the problem

- A.